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Comment Re:A quote comes to mind (Score 1) 46

I remember the ancient days when laptops came with two battery bays so that a person could exchange one battery while the other kept the laptop running. While at university I remember there being a charging station for the spare batteries so that the staff could charge up a handful of batteries so the laptop wouldn't die on them while they were working away from their desk.

Later on CD-ROM drives became a thing and people had the option of pulling out the drive to make room for a second battery. I don't recall anyone actually doing this but it was an option. About this same time, as the student IT guy, it was my job to take the laptop battery charger to the surplus inventory warehouse. I don't recall ever seeing a means to charge a laptop battery other than the laptop itself since.

At some point the CD drives, while still removable, didn't have the battery connection points in that bay any more. This was so people could instead opt for a floppy drive, DVD drive, or simply to leave the bay empty and save some weight. While not necessarily battery related I also noticed the removal of these drives become more difficult over time. I guess people didn't upgrade and/or replace them as often as they used to. The loss of the spare battery connection points must have also signaled that having a spare battery wasn't the selling point it used to be.

What remained for a long time though were user replaceable batteries. People just didn't seem to carry spare batteries anymore, which showed in the design of the laptop bags. It used to be that a laptop bag might have pockets for three or four spare batteries, then pockets for one or two, and then none.

People might have to replace the batteries in a laptop once or twice in the useful lifespan of the computer. Again this was reflected in the ease of replacing the batteries. It used to be that replacing a battery took one hand and an easy to locate latch, back when computers had the option for two of them. Then it became a matter of flipping them over to reach a less obvious latch. Then batteries started to be behind a door, first held in place with a latch and then later with a screw. Now, most every laptop will require one to remove several screws to get to the battery, assuming the battery is user replaceable at all.

We saw a similar series of events happen with cell phones. People, for the most part, don't want to replace batteries. People want their electronics to last as long as possible between charges. This has been reflected in what people buy and therefore in what manufacturers offer. If people were still content with having to carry four spare batteries with them to keep their laptops and cell phones running through the day then we'd have much smaller and lighter devices, but then we'd also have to carry those batteries somewhere somehow. But the truth is that people will willingly sacrifice in the size and weight of their devices in order that they'd never have to be concerned with changing the batteries. One way to make up for some of the size and weight of having higher capacity batteries is to remove the pieces and parts that make them easy to replace. This has the added benefit of making the devices more durable and cheaper.

Another benefit of making it difficult to replace batteries is it keeps people from putting in after market, and therefore likely substandard, batteries that can damage a device. Now that batteries have reached the durability and capacity we have today it is rare for anyone to even consider the lack of a user replaceable battery as a problem. There are times like this, where a battery problem highlights where the inability for a user to replace a battery can be problematic, it would seem that the makers of these devices are willing to put up with the challenges because of how rare it happens. People seem willing to buy these devices. If people demanded user replaceable batteries then the device makers would continue to offer them.

If the lack of user replaceable batteries bother you then perhaps you need to be more vocal. But then money speaks louder than words. If you want that feature so bad then you will have to pay for it.

Comment Re:Effect on children (Score 1) 84

What person do you become when your parents preferred a machine to you for years?

You mean like Dad being more interested in watching a movie on TV than reading me a bedtime story?

There was a time when my brothers and I thought Dad was illiterate. In school we'd read stories in school about the poor literacy rate of some adults, and see TV shows about how people that can't read but "fake it" by doing things like learning enough to read a road sign, and order food in a restaurant by looking at the pictures on a menu or asking the wait staff about the daily specials.

I don't know if this is a reflection of dads being dads or of government funded schools and mass media trying to teach kids that their parents are quite likely stupider than their teachers. If a kid thinks that their parents are idiots then they can be made more receptive to what the government tells them if it should conflict with what their parents tell them.

That's an issue of government trying to destroy the family, which I'm quite certain was not where you were going but I believe to be a related issue. It depends on what these parents are consuming on these electronic devices. If they are getting government approved messages on how they should be freed from the drudgery of making their children breakfast and let them eat it at school then I think that is just as much, or a greater, threat to "family time" than what people complain about with phone calls interrupting meal time with the family. It's kind of hard to share a meal if the kids leave for school to eat. Some schools want to offer evening meals, and meals over the summer.

Think of school lunch programs too. Should not the feeding of children be the responsibility of the parents? Is it really that difficult to pack a lunch for school kids? There was a McDonald's next door to my high school. Some might consider it child abuse for a parent giving a child money for lunch and instruct them to eat at McDonald's instead of school cafeteria. Some might consider parents forcing children to eat a government mandated meal at school cafeteria as abuse. Either way I believe it should be the parents' choice on what their children eat, even if the school doesn't "approve" of it.

Also, who is calling these people during meal times? There's a lot of rules on robo-dialing that don't apply to political campaigns. I understand the implications of a campaign being able to communicate with potential voters but does it have to happen at meal time?

Maybe Dad didn't always talk to us at meals because he was watching TV at the time but at least I saw him every morning and night for meals and while doing chores on the farm. I know this will sound like a combination of tin foil hattery and "get off my lawn" style old man grumpiness but kids these days aren't being pulled from the family by just the electronics but by the government teaching kids them that the government feeds them and educates them, parents don't. Al Gore and such would give talks to kids on how parents are destroying the environment if they aren't using the right kind of light bulbs or driving the right kind of car. That's assuming they have parents (plural) and not a single parent because their dad was replaced by a government single mother subsidy.

You want to see your family life less "contaminated"? Then eat breakfast with your children instead of sending them off to school to eat. Pick them up at school instead of having them walk or ride a bus. Pack their lunches. Also, turn off the TV and cell phones at meal time. When (or if) you let your children watch TV then watch TV together. Play games with your kids, read them books. If this is cutting in on your time to do dishes and such then make them part of it. Have them fold their own clothes and help with dishes. Tell them they can watch TV with Mom and Dad after the dishes are washed, the floors swept, and everything put away. Oh, and make sure Dad is around to watch TV, no government check can replace a father.

Comment Re: Service for those who will buy it (Score 2) 170

That's not completely accurate, as Verizon paid less than $0 We actually paid them, on average, around 1.1 billion/year with our tax dollars! Do you think that helped those schools, police, fire departments, and social programs for the communities they "serve"?

Yes, at least for the fire and police parts. For fire and police to act in the saving of life, limb, and property they must know about the problem. People having the ability to call for emergency services, with perhaps a telephone, would improve response times.

Also, Verizon as an entity may not have paid taxes but all the employees did. They paid income and sales taxes with their wages. These employees spending money on income taxes means some of that money goes toward funding the schools.

I generally oppose tax dollars going towards subsidizing anything, especially so if the subsidy is something not spelled out in the government's enumerated powers. It might be a stretch but a functional and generally accessible phone infrastructure could be construed as means to move communications under the "Postal" clause. Much like how the government subsidizes/funds USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc. for the movement of letters, packages, and money (by various means, including electronic fund transfers), there is a need for electronic communications, such as phones and internet, to work in parallel for when electronic communications would be more appropriate. This competition with electronic communications provides an incentive to keep prices low and/or enables them to focus on moving letters and packages rather than be concerned about e-mail and phone communications too. There is also the power of Congress "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions" where being able to call up reserves quickly by telephone is certainly advantageous. The Internet was made for things like this too even if that has become a small part of how it is used now.

If you are complaining that people complain that some of these telephone and internet companies have taken these government funds with the promise of more services which they later failed to live up to then I believe many of those complaints have value. If the government paid for Verizon to provide high speed internet to the poor and they did not live up to their end of the deal then there may be grounds for the government to punish the company for not living up to their end of the contract. If the contract included an expectation of these poor people to pay their phone and internet access bills and people were not paying them then Verizon failed in a way where the government is partially at fault. It is quite likely the government failed on their end to properly estimate the ability and desire for the people in these communities to pay their fees.

This would be much like USPS or FedEx taking a bunch of money from the government for building a big warehouse and sorting facility, buying a bunch of delivery trucks, and hiring a lot of deliverers and sorters, but not enough people were shipping enough letters and packages to support all of this. Or they took the money, didn't build up anything, and left the people with a desire to move a lot of packages and such with not enough staff and facilities to handle the load.

So, you might be right to be upset about Verizon taking that government money but for the wrong reasons.

Comment Re:Effect on children (Score 2) 84

That's weird, your post got cut off. Anyway, I was just reading on the internet about a girl that axed her mom and dad to death. She said he did it was because they kept ignoring her and using their smartphones instead of talking to her. Glad to hear things are well with you but you might want to be more considerate to your child or you'll end up like those unfortunate people, right?

Comment Not new (Score 4, Insightful) 84

I remember watching The Waltons on TV (a show about a family living in a Virginia rural community through the Depression and WWII) where one episode focused on the family getting a telephone. It was a big deal and not without people being concerned about how it might affect their life. A rather humorous, and quite realistic, scene involved the patriarch having to leave the bathtub to answer the phone. I believe the episode ended with them getting rid of the telephone but it reappears later in the series with much less fanfare.

Then came television. People were concerned about how that might affect the family too. I lived through some of this as I remember Dad bringing home a second TV after Mom demanded the one TV we had be removed from the kitchen. Dad did not want his TV viewing to be interrupted by supper. Come to think of it I was probably watching The Waltons while eating supper.

Computers, internet, video games, all technology that was going to invade "family time". That's just the electronics. Some of you may have read enough history to know how big of a deal clocks were to how society worked. Automobiles were also supposed to ruin "family time" or something.

Same stuff on a different day. People learn to turn the stuff off when they should or suffer the consequences.

Comment Tethers on phone always bothered me (Score 1) 76

When shopping for a phone I want to know how it fits in my life, and in my pocket. Perhaps this is not an issue with most phones but if I'm going to choose between the different iPhone models, which are larger than most phones, then I want to make sure the phone fits in the leg pocket of my carpenter jeans comfortably. That seems reasonable, no? When shopping for a new wallet I'll want to make sure it fits in my pocket too. These are things that go in pockets, people are going to want to see if they want it in their pocket. If the phone is glued to the stand then I can't even get an idea of the most common selling points of a phone, it's size and weight.

I can imagine a lot of new phone sales are lost because people lose interest because they can't pick it up and hold it to their ear and not have a brick the size of a small automobile glued to the back, and a spring loaded tether that has enough force to lift that small automobile on the back of the phone from the floor to the magnetized stand. These people will likely still buy a phone, because people buy phones, but if the impulse is lost because of poor presentation then they lose out on selling their phone to that person. The small probability of someone walking out of the store successfully with a phone in their pocket may be worth the gain in future sales.

If I'm told I cannot see if a product that is designed to fit in a pocket does in fact fit in my pocket then I'll tend to shop elsewhere. I can imagine I'm not alone. I hope this trend spreads. I tend to avoid shops that at like I'm going to walk off with their products without paying for them. This is a sign of poor quality neighborhoods and perhaps even poor quality products, because the good stuff isn't generally sold in the bad parts of town.

Comment Re:I have always wondered... (Score 1) 221

I can also imagine placing the drones precisely, and detonating their payload in a precisely time succession to create a pressure wave that is either directed or of a magnitude that is greater than what a single bomb of the same mass could produce.

It's technology like this that could change how battles are fought. Much like how firearms ended the days of the mounted knight and high walled castles. Or how warplanes ended the days of the big gun battleships. How effective would a M1 Abrams tank be if a small cheap drone can fly up to it and blow off a track?

Comment Re:can't have nice things... (Score 1) 221

So this is what happens when they run out of people willing to sacrifice their one and only life for Allah.

In some way this could be a "good" thing. It shows that they've lost enough numbers and fanatics that suicide attacks aren't as attractive as before. It wasn't that long ago we could read about them using children and the mentally handicapped to carry their suicide weapons. I suspect that this practice ended right quick as it proved very unpopular. These people may be depraved lunatics but it seems they have limits to their depravity.

Comment Re:Wow... (Score 1) 221

Uhh.... no. There's been talk of this for decades.

Perhaps but let's think about this. Radio controlled aircraft have been used certainly since WWII. Putting in cameras and TV transmitters for a first person view for piloting was experimented with then, perhaps even used successfully. These were converted light bombers where the controls had to be operated by a trained pilot. One could argue that the pilots would have to be exceptionally skilled since they'd be flying from a different aircraft that was trailing and flying from what could be seen through the cameras (likely B&W and very low resolution given the technology of the 1940s), and maybe from what they could see from the windows of the trailing aircraft. This meant the destruction of a very valuable airframe, and valuable electronics, and would likely only be attempted out of desperation.

Radio controlled airplanes have existed for decades for certain. I vaguely recall a 1980s TV show where the plot of one episode focused on the use of a very unique RC plane loaded with explosives to down an airliner. The plane was flown by line of sight, since no camera and transmitter would fit. RC planes were something of a fad at the time, making the episode appealing to audiences, but even then the planes would have been quite expensive and difficult to control, and therefore be not much better than chucking a grenade unless, as with the WWII experiments, flown as very expensive radio guided missiles into high value targets. This would be true up into the 1990s at least, making the claim of "decades" dubious.

This is the use of inexpensive remote controlled aircraft, capable of hovering over a target, with video resolution sufficient to identify a possible target from hundreds of feet in the air, a radio range far enough that it exceeds the ability of someone to just chuck a grenade, with sufficient on board electronics that a user with minimal training can operate with sufficient control to get within feet of the target in time short enough that the target cannot react, having payload sufficient to carry a deadly explosive and remote detonator, and all of this cheap enough to use against a common soldier, not only a VIP.

I'm pretty sure this technology is a very recent development. People may have been speculating about this for decades but not to sufficient detail to know enough to develop counter measures. People have been talking about a lot of things for a long time but never knowing exactly when the technology would arrive or with enough detail to do anything about it. People have discussed biological and chemical attacks for a long time too but until one knows exactly what kind of chemicals or biological elements one can expect the counter measures can be only very generic and therefore not especially effective.

We might have been able to foresee what a future remote controlled flying grenade might be capable of, but without knowing specifics like the range of the device, the frequencies used, the coding system for the up and down links, etc. the countermeasures would only be very generic. It seems the specifics surprised a lot of people.

Comment Re:Wow... (Score 1) 221

I've never seen battle but I know people that have. What is not typical battle gear is a shotgun and trying to shoot down a small drone with a M-4 or M-16 rifle would seem more that just difficult. Not to mention trying to shoot down a drone with a rifle that has an effective range of over a mile does seem like something that might not be safe, even in a war zone, to attempt.

A typical infantry squad in an urban environment will have one of perhaps four soldiers with what they call a "master key". A master key, in this instance, is a short barreled Remington Model 870 shotgun loaded with door breaching rounds. This might serve to down a small drone loaded with explosives, especially if loaded with more appropriate ammunition but there is still a matter of training. The M870 is not a complex piece of equipment but soldiers should have at least some familiarity with it before being expected to shoot down drones with it. Some marksmanship training would certainly be helpful, aiming a rifle is different than pointing a shotgun. Shooting down a drone is certainly very different than taking a door off its hinges.

Also, who says shooting them down is the best idea? That certainly seems like a logical solution but maybe throwing a baseball at it would work better. Or tossing a net at it. Maybe an EMP weapon? The powers that be don't know what does and does not work yet. Also, you point out that the drone once grounded is still a threat. I agree it is a threat but this is different than a booby trap triggered by a string, the soldiers need to be trained on this.

The soldiers in the US Army are the best trained in the world and I expect, as apparently you do, to figure things out quickly. However, this is a new problem and "figuring it out on the fly" as you point out can get soldiers killed. A lot of lives can be saved with even a few minutes of training so soldiers don't repeat mistakes others did while "figuring it out on the fly".

Comment Re:Wow... (Score 1) 221

Not only that but how to pull the pin once over the target.

You make it sound trivial but the implications are bigger than the technology employed. I was in the US Army and the tactics taught in basic military training did not include looking for quadcopters with a grenade attached. This is something new that, according to the article at least, the smart people that are supposed to see things like this coming did not foresee. What is worse is that there is no easy fix.

I recall a story from WWII of the US Army seeing big losses of soldiers from drowning. Back then the US Army and US Navy had much greater training and logistic separation than they do now. The Army didn't think that soldiers, people trained to fight on land, would be put in a position where they'd have to worry about drowning. It just was not thought of until ships full of soldiers being carried over the ocean to the battlefield were attacked. Basic water survival has been a part of basic training since.

Another more recent example. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were getting blown up by booby traps. This is stupid simple technology of putting a wire across a doorway with one end attached to the pin of a grenade. A big problem since there was no training on this. Several different means were used to address this with differing levels of success and time involved to discover the wires. What became the most favored means of detection was to use those cans of "silly string" to spray a brightly colored string onto the wires but not apply enough pressure to pull the pin on the grenade. What was an improvised method became standard equipment and training. I imagine the $5 can of silly string that they used in the beginning has become a $500 can that can withstand temperatures of -50C to 70C, pressures from 0 to 15 atmospheres, and radiation blast from a tactical nuke but that's another story.

Those are a couple examples on how to address known issues in battle with training and simple equipment. What the problem is now is that the powers that be need to find a way to counteract this new development, and do so quickly, or people die. This is not as simple as issuing cans of silly string and training the soldiers how to use it.

I'm sure some SJW will claim that this is all our fault for invading their land and how western nations should just leave them alone and then they will leave us alone. My first instinct is to punch such people in the face but since this is the internet, and I try to keep myself from being arrested for battery, I'll point out that western civilization has been battling these savages for centuries. The words "to the shores of Tripoli" in the USMC song refers to a battle with an Islamic state in 1803. They declared war on the USA since the USA existed.

Comment Re: $300 or $400 for map update (Score 1) 310

Assuming a modern cell phone does not use any internal accelerometers for navigation I can understand why. A car navigation system will always know the relative position of the sensors to the motion of the vehicle, as in the accelerometers are attached firmly to the vehicle and will register only the motion of the vehicle. Sensors in a tablet or phone can not be sure of that since someone using the device could be holding it in landscape or portrait mode, be in a backward facing seat, in the hands of a child shaking it feverishly because it's not playing Dora the Explorer, or tumbling off the seat to the floor because the car hit a pothole.

By simply ignoring the motion sensors and using only GPS data the math on computing location gets simpler and likely more accurate. A phone may be able to detect that the motion sensors roughly match the GPS data and decide they are trustworthy, basically the phone assumes it is on a solid mount, and then use it to compute accurate data. What happens then once the GPS signal is lost? Can the motion sensors still be trusted? I can just imagine how people might react to having a phone start giving erroneous location data, people will pick up the phone and start moving it around the cabin to get the signal back. At that point what should the phone do? Should it assume the car is weaving wildly or that someone is moving the phone?

An in dash navigation system has other advantages that a phone does not have, like the potential to get more data than just acceleration and GPS. I can imagine a car navigation system would make use of data like vehicle speed and position of the steering wheel. Unless someone goes the the effort of connecting a phone to the on board diagnostic port then it will always have less information than a navigation system built into the vehicle.

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